When faced with the question, "Who is my target customer?" The answer should never be "Everyone." The question you should really be asking yourself is, "Who is my 1 customer that I can build my entire brand around?"
Stephen King once said that he writes every book with an Ideal Reader in mind. He defines his ideal reader and then starts writing. Great brands tell a story. Why would you go against the advice of one of the most published story-tellers of all time?
Note: One exception to 1 customer could be if you decide you want to identify one male and one female. Keep it under 2 though!
Take a second to identify your 1 customer. Which customers are buying anything you are selling? Which customers are already looking for what you provide? What is their age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, relationship status, career, income, location, education, number of kids, and more?
Lean into this problem with all your branding might. Lean into this problem with your messaging, design, logo, sales, social media, website, SEO... Even your bookkeeping! Let your brand be a megaphone right into your customer's ears, crying out "Over here! Look! We hate your problem too! It sucks! We figured out the solution!" Then you better make sure you actually did figure out the solution and your brand will rise to the top in customer love.
Before you lean into this problem, you need to step into the shoes of your 1 customer. You need to know how they think. The following helpful exercise will help you to define and experience the day in the life of your 1 customer.
Have you ever seen the movie "Being John Malkovich?" It's a strange film about two friends who find a secret portal where they are able to live inside John Malkovich, the semi-famous real life actor. Through this exercise we are going to climb through the secret portal into your 1 customer's mind from the moment they wake up until the moment they fall asleep.
When do they wake up? For the sake of this exercise, we will say 7am.
They wake up. What's their first thought? What problem do they immediately face? What desires do they have? Do they press snooze or jump out of bed? Do they wake up their spouse or do they quietly move around, avoiding that one spot on the floor that they know creaks? Do their kids come running and screaming into their room eliminating the need for an alarm that day?
What do they do after waking up? Do they go straight to the coffee machine? Are they a morning person ready to tackle their day? Do they meditate? Do they put running shoes on and dart out the door? Do they throw on some clothes and walk to their college class like a zombie? What are they thinking about?What's their mindset? What's their attitude? What is pissing them off right now? What is depressing them? What are they dreading? And so on...
Walk through every half hour, hour, or couple hours of their day and ask the following questions: What problem are they facing? How does this problem make them feel? What are they doing in that moment? What is their mindset? What are they hopeful for? What are their desires? What are they needing in that moment? What problem does your company uniquely solve? What hopes do you fulfill? Once you identify your 1 customer, their problem, and how you solve it, you are ready to start building the rest of your brand!